Mike’s Favorite Movie Posters of the Decade (100-91)
I’ve said it for near ten years now — the movie poster is a lost art. So many of them nowadays are just so bland, and it feels like it’s getting harder and harder to get a poster that truly feels like something special; selling a film on a single, memorable image. Getting you to understand immediately what the film is about while also staying in your mind. It’s hard to remember posters. If I told you offhand to name ten truly memorable posters from this decade off the top of your head, you’d have trouble doing it. And even if you got to ten, chances are some of them are just because the film was so big and widespread that you remember it just because it was so out there.
Anyway, the point of this list was me looking back on my years of going over my favorite posters (and I started this list in 2011, so I’ve done nine years of it officially on the site) and revisiting all the posters from all the years and picking out the ones that I think have held up to me as the best examples of truly strong imagery.
So, with that said, here are my favorite posters from this past decade:
100. Anna Karenina (2012)
I love this one. Doesn’t quite work without knowing what Joe Wright does within the film itself, but that doesn’t take much to understand in the era of trailers and clips and press and things. I love the image of the train and the snow bleeding out into the stage and then into the ballroom. It’s just a really evocative image and tells you that you’re in for something different than the usual period, costume, lit adaptation fare.
99. Call Me By Your Name (2017)
I love the simplicity of this poster. The blue with the skinny yellow title is evocative on its own. But also — it’s just the two of them. You don’t need to sell it on much more than that. And even more so, if you choose to read into it — it’s the two of them, head on the other’s shoulder (younger on older’s shoulder, which implies that this is a learning experience/first love situation) and the blue representing the sky, meaning the endless possibilities of a new love. It’s a really strong poster. But even if you don’t want to look into all that, you can just sort of get it based solely on the two of them and how they’re positioned.
98. Spotlight (2015)
I love the words all over and the picture of them just being a little box in the middle of all this. I can’t really read too much into this — words/journalism, the ‘spotlight’ on them doing their job, but really I just like the layout and the fact that they collaged all the reviews all over the place. It stands out, and for a film that’s really hard to explain in a single image, they at least made you look at the poster.
97. Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)
Not that these are particularly great films, but this poster always stood out to me as being tremendous. The ominous giant spaceship and the lone robot coming to fuck you up. It’s menacing as shit. And for a franchise that fairly recently had robot balls and a miniature robot humping Megan Fox’s leg, this at least made me think, “Oh, this is really cool. Maybe the movie will be worthwhile.” And for a movie that features fucking dinosaurs, the fact that I’d still prefer this as a poster image tells you how strong it is.
96. The Girl in the Spider’s Web (2018)
I love the all red and spray paint around the eyes. I remember this image more than I remember a lot of others from this decade. Just from the paint being where it is you almost instinctively know that she’s a vigilante, but a good vigilante who is helping people who deserve it. Otherwise, yeah, it’s kind of a shitty paperback novel cover, but still. It stands out, and I’ve got no problem with that since the image is so memorable.
95. Godzilla (2014)
The entire campaign ran on this imagery, and it was, for me at the time, the strongest I’d seen in a while. I couldn’t get this image out of my head, the red smoke jumpers coming down on Godzilla. That was so awesome. I still think it’s an amazing poster, but I’m not as heated on it as maybe I was six years ago. Still, it’s hard to argue with this as an enduring image from this decade. I think people generally liked the movie even if there were some issues with plotting and lack of Godzilla screen time, but I don’t know if anyone would say a bad word about the marketing campaign for this.
94. Boyhood (2014)
Sometimes the simplest answer is the best answer. This is the story of a boy. And there you have it. What more needs to be said?
93. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)
I love the infinity blinds going on here. I still have no idea what the purpose of this image is, but goddamn if it doesn’t stand out and make you remember it. Really what this poster is selling you on is the weird-but-fascinating style of Yorgos Lanthimos. And on that, it succeeds mightily.
92. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
I adore this poster. It looks like the cover of some forgotten LP you’d find in a record store for 99 cents. It’s perfect for the film. Plus, that is the enduring image of the movie: Oscar Isaac with his guitar, walking up the Village with this lost cat. Maybe this doesn’t stand out for others, but I’ve always remembered and loved it.
91. Whiplash (2014)
Part of me thinks I’d prefer the poster without all the text and just the all-black with only him and the drums with the spotlight on him. But even with the text, it just adds to it all. Since that is the film — him and the drums. And the words only make you even more intrigued, because they’re all saying how amazing it is. This is how you get people interested in an indie movie that won’t get the kind of publicity a superhero movie will.
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